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NYU Trailblazers Series - China-Africa relations: Past and Future with Prof. Adele Carrai

Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at 7:30 AM until 8:30 AMEastern Standard Time

Over the past two decades, China’s influence in Africa has rapidly expanded. In 2009, China surpassed the United States as Africa's largest trading partner. Most countries in sub-Saharan Africa have signed onto Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature, trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Yet debates persist about the state of this relationship. Many in the West have charged China with developing into a neocolonial power that aims to colonize a weak and hapless Africa. But such allegations seem both false and overblown. The Trump administration repeatedly but baselessly described China’s overseas development finance activities as “debt-trap diplomacy.” The talk will go beyond such misleading narratives and politicized rhetoric to explore from a historical perspective the nature of Africa-China engagement.

Maria Adele Carrai is an Assistant Professor of Global China Studies at NYU Shanghai. Her research explores the history of international law in East Asia and investigates how China’s rise as a global power is shaping norms and redefining the international distribution of power. Prior to joining NYU Shanghai, she was a recipient of a three-year Marie-Curie fellowship at KU Leuven. She was also a Fellow at the Italian Academy of Columbia University, Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program, Max Weber Program of the European University Institute of Florence, and New York University Law School.

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